Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, said in an exclusive interview with CNN that he intends to donate most of his $124 billion net worth during his lifetime. He said he would use most of his money to fight climate change and support individuals who can unite people in the face of severe social and political divisions.
Even though Bezos’ commitment lacked specifics, it is the first time he has stated that he intends to donate most of his wealth. The Giving Pledge, a commitment by hundreds of the world’s wealthiest people to contribute the bulk of their money to philanthropic organizations, has drawn criticism for Bezos’ refusal to sign it.
Speaking alongside his fiancée, the journalist-turned-philanthropist Lauren Sánchez, Bezos said the couple is “developing the ability to be able to give away this money” in a sit-down interview with CNN’s Chloe Melas on Saturday at their Washington, DC, home.
Bezos responded, “Yeah, I do,” when asked directly by CNN if he plans to contribute most of his money during his lifetime.
Bezos claimed that he and Sánchez decided to conduct their first interview since getting together in 2019 to raise awareness of the Bezos Courage and Civility Award, which was given to performer Dolly Parton this year.
The 20-minute conversation between Bezos and Sánchez covered many subjects, including Bezos’ opinions on political dialogue and a potential economic recession, Sánchez’s plans to travel to space with an all-female crew, and her reflections on a successful business partnership with Bezos.
When Bezos and Sánchez announced on Saturday that Parton would receive a $100 million award for her Courage and Civility Award, their working partnership was on the whole show. This is the third such award; the first two went to climate activist and CNN contributor Van Jones and chef Jose Andrés, who used some money to cook for Ukrainians.
In the interview, Sánchez stated, “Look, everyone grins, right? When you think about Dolly, She radiates light. She only wants to shed light on other people’s lives. We could not have come up with a better recipient for this award, and we are confident that Dolly will use it significantly.
Bezos noted that the commonality among the recipients of the Courage and Civility Awards was their ability to mobilize vast groups of people to tackle daunting problems.
Bezos told CNN, “I feel humbled to be able to be a part of what they’re doing for this globe.”
Bezos emphasized unity as an essential quality to combat climate change while criticizing politicians and social media for exacerbating conflict.
How to Distribute It?
The couple’s most significant obstacle might be deciding how to split up Bezos’ enormous riches. Bezos opted not to provide a specific proportion or to offer specifics on how it would probably be used.
Despite being the fourth-richest person in the world, per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bezos has not established a specific goal for how much money he wants to donate during his lifetime.
Bezos has given the Bezos Earth Fund, which Sánchez co-chairs, $10 billion over ten years, or around 8% of his current net wealth. Its top priorities include lowering the carbon footprint of building-grade cement and steel, pressuring financial regulators to take climate-related risks into account, developing data and mapping technologies to monitor carbon emissions, and constructing massive, naturally occurring plant-based carbon sinks.
Bezos is still involved in the company’s greening even though he is currently Amazon’s (AMZN) executive chair and not its CEO after stepping down from that position in 2021.
Yep, the probabilities in this economy tell you to batten down the hatches. https://t.co/SwldRdms5v
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) October 18, 2022
Bezos stated that Amazon (AMZN) is one of more than 300 businesses that have committed to reducing their carbon footprint by the year 2040 by the principles of the Paris Climate Agreement, even though Amazon’s (AMZN) footprint increased by 18% in 2021 due to an e-commerce boom sparked by the pandemic. Amazon’s (AMZN) struggle with its impact on the environment matches its disproportionate influence on everything from unionization discussions to antitrust law, where the business has drawn intense regulatory, legislative, and civil society attention.
Bezos contrasted his philanthropic approach to the years he spent building a massive e-commerce and cloud computing engine that has elevated him to one of the world’s most powerful positions.
He implied that even while he is giving away his billions, he is still trying to maximize his return by saying, “The hard thing is figuring out how to do it in a levered fashion.” “It’s not simple. Amazon was not simple to build. It took a lot of hard work and clever, dedicated teammates, and I’m discovering — and I believe Lauren is too — that charity and philanthropy are very similar.
In my opinion, there are many ways you may do ineffective things, he continued. Therefore, careful consideration is required, as well as the presence of outstanding team members.
MacKenzie Scott, his ex-wife and philanthropist, recently donated about $4 billion to 465 groups in less than a year, in stark contrast to Bezos’ meticulous approach to giving.